Best Comedy Books

Woman reading funny comedy book

Comedy books are an underrated genre, perhaps because it’s rare for a writer to nail that perfect delivery and scene-setting. Jokes hit differently in novels versus films, and it takes a lot of talent and attention to their craft for an author to get it just right.

When a book makes you genuinely laugh out loud, you know it’s a keeper. Here are some of the best comedy books to read when you need a side-splitting page-turner on your TBR.

Delete This at Your Peril (2007)

"Delete This At Your Peril" by Irvine Welsh Book cover art depicting a man in front of his computer

Neil Forsyth

Genre: Fiction, Business and Office Humor
Rating: 10/10

If you hate spammers and scammers that fill your email box daily, this book will make you laugh. Bob Servant is a former window cleaner who loves to play tricks on people.

After getting fed up with all the spam in his box, Bob decides to write back to the scammers as a joke. But it quickly becomes even funnier as the replies get crazier the longer they go on.

Fair warning: some might find the language vulgar. Others will find it hilarious—and more than appropriate, when going head-to-head with shady scam artists.

 

The Timewaster Letters (2011)

The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper depicting a trashcan filled with crumpled papers

Robin Cooper

Genre: Fiction, Humorous Essays
Rating: 10/10

Similar to Delete This at Your Peril, The Timewaster Letters targets old-fashioned junk mail.

Robin Cooper writes to these companies to try to sell them some seriously weird ideas, like scarecrows that eat birds and a book for kids called Kelly Telly and His Smelly Belly.

But he doesn’t stop with companies who send him things: he also writes to random people, and even to Prince Charles. This is a must-read.

 

Almost Interesting (2015)

David Spade is Almost Interesting Book Cover Art picturing David Spade wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans dropping a microphone as he walks away

David Spade

Genre: Biographies, Celebrities and Pop Culture
Rating: 10/10

Don’t let the unassuming title fool you: you’ll laugh just reading the first paragraph of the introduction. Chapters include standards like “Growing Up,” hilarious surprises like “My First Hooker,” and the epilogue: “The Time I Did Too Much Coke.”

If you are offended by bad language, skip this one, because Spade loves his curse words.

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

The Hicthhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Book Cover Art depicting a robot-like alien holding a drink with a tentacle of another alien race against a purple background

Douglas Adams

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Adventure
Rating: 10/10

You’ve probably heard about this cult classic. While not exactly “laugh out loud” funny, it does have humor, and it’s a unique and interesting look at human life and its meaning.

A group of aliens, the Vogons, destroy earth to construct a hyperspace bypass. Arthur Dent is the last surviving man, thanks to alien Ford Prefect, who’s writing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The pair hitchhike on a Vogon ship, explore the galaxy, and encounter other aliens and one other human survivor.

 

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (2015)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson Book Cover Art depicting a raccoon with his mouth open and arms outstretched looking upwards against a green-gold background

Jenny Lawson

Genre: Autobiographical, Anxieties and Phobias
Rating: 10/10

The basic message of Furiously Happy is “When life gives you lemons…”—only a lot funnier.

This one has some adult humor and bad language, but is a seriously funny take on mental illness, a combination very few authors could write so brilliantly. It’s not just about making the best of bad situations: it’s about making every “okay” moment a great one.

Lawson pens her memoir with honesty and hilarity, covering topics from sheepskin condoms, to piling chameleons on top of a bowl of Skittles. For a laugh-out-loud read with heart, check this one out immediately.

 

Sh*t My Dad Says (2010)

Sh*t My Dad says by Justin Halpern Book Cover Art depicting a picture frame of a father and son wearing baseball uniforms

Justin Halper

Genre: Internet and Social Media Humor, Parenthood
Rating: 10/10

The title tells you all you need to know with this comedy book.

From potty training to table manners, to accidents, to birthday parties, Justin Halper’s dad has some brutally funny advice about…well, everything.

Chapter titles include “Not Everyone’s Balls Should be Busted,” and “Focus on Living, Dying is the Easy Part.”

 

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life (2017)

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby Book Cover Art depicting a wet cat against a bright yellow background

Samantha Irby

Genre: Humor Essays; Love, Sex, and Marriage
Rating: 10/10

From her Bachelorette application to awkward sexual encounters, Samantha Irby covers it all and shares her take on life while making you laugh.

Another of the “bad language comedy books,” this one won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but rest assured the foul language and blue humor serve the stories well.

 

Hyperbole and a Half: Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013)

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh depicting a drawing of a person and their dog

Allie Brosh

Genre: Comics, Nonfiction Graphic Novels
Rating: 10/10

This book’s description alone gives you a great idea of what’s inside: it includes a disclaimer of what, within the description, are lies. Brosh’s humor comes through in every last line, but also some horrible illustrations that will make you laugh until you cry.

 

Go the F**k to Sleep (2011)

Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach Book Cover Art depicting a drawing of a child sleeping with a male and female tiger and their two cubs

Adam Mansbach

Genre: Parodies, Parent and Family Humor
Rating: 10/10

Parents will treasure this “adult kid’s book” highlighting the struggles of putting children to bed.

Every page is a gem, such as: “Everything is dark, and the whales are all down in the deep. I will read you one last book if you promise you will go the f**k to sleep.” It just gets funnier as you go.

 

The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior (2013)

The Cat's guide to Human Behavior by Xina Marie Uhl Book Cover Art depicting a cat wearing red from glasses

Xina Marie Uhl

Genre: Short Reads, Pets and Animal Humor
Rating: 10/10

Ever wondered what your cat thinks of you? The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior is here to provide invaluable insight into exactly that.

They wonder why you stare at a box on a wall for hours at a time, why you do not sleep as much as they do, and why females are friendlier to cats than males. They also share some good ways to wake you like walking on your face, meowing loudly, or biting your feet.

Even dog people will laugh hysterically at this funny feline perspective.

 

via GIPHY

The writing in comedy books requires the same qualities as comedic movies or stand-up routines: quick minds, sharp wit, and unflinching honesty. These books are standouts in the genre, and will have you cracking up into the early hours as you promise yourself, “Just one more page.”

For more bookworm recommendations, check out the best books in the science fiction, apocalypse, or pandemic genres.